Categories > Anime/Manga > Pokemon > The Spirit of Alola

7. His Biggest Fear

by CJWorthington 0 reviews

Chapter 7 of The Spirit of Alola

Category: Pokemon - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2021-03-30 - Updated: 2021-10-29 - 5319 words - Complete

The world around me tilts and tips like a boat tossed about on a rough tide. I feel no surface below my feet. I could only smell salt and rain. My clothes feel like they are light as a feather as they billow wildly underwater while the shoulders of my shirt and my hair are plastered to my scrawny body. I try desperately to listen for anyone or anything around me, but even my sensitive ears can't pick out distinct sounds over the muffling waves.

My skin is soaked to the bone as I bob uncontrollably in a raging storm. Seawater rushes into my mouth as I gasp in shock at the sudden change in my environment, choking out my voice. The taste of saltwater makes me gag, spit, and wretch as the horrid stuff fills my mouth again and spills over into my stomach and lungs. Then, I hear a voice calling. Someone in the distance is yelling.

"Help me!" I splutter uselessly, "I'm drowning!" But the words can't leave my lips as more water fills my mouth.

I feel a strong twist as something grabs onto my ankles, squeezing painfully as it begins to drag my head underwater. A new voice sounds in my head, even over the rush of water in my ears. I kick and thrash, forcing the powerful grasp to leave my ankles.

My head breaks the foaming surface once more, and I clamp my mouth shut, hoping to keep the water out this time.

Help me, help me, the new voice says, suddenly next to my ear, cold and chilling, teasing my own cries for help with a sudden high-pitched, cruel laugh. No one can help you now!

The mocking continues as yet another voice cries out a muffled yell that I can't make the words out to. The forceful squeeze wraps suddenly around my shoulders now, almost desperately, as I feel myself being dragged back under the crashing waves.

No, I need help! Somebody, please! I think, fear pulsing through my exhausted limbs as I wriggle about more frantically, trying without luck to throw my attacker off of me. I feel my thrashing slow as my burning lungs begin to give out, my body dragged further under the sea and my strength beginning to ebb.

"Professor Kukui! Professor Burnet! I need help!" The third voice cries more clearly than the others now.

It was a voice I did not recognize, but it was not the same frightening entity as the second. In fact, I'm not drowning or soaked with saltwater, nor am I even slightly damp. Instead, I'm lying on a couch.

The Rowlet that belongs to my kind hosts was snuggled cozily on my stomach, sleeping and hooting gently in its slumber.

"Vee vee!" Another voice cries—but this one I do recognize. I rip my eyes open and sit up so fast I nearly fall off the couch.

The Rowlet hoots indignantly at being unceremoniously thrown from its comfortable perch. I hear it flutter its wings and soar grumpily towards the rafters of the house.

Hop was tapping her paws against the floor and pulling on my hand desperately, her teeth carefully prickling my skin in her anxious attempts to wake me up. I pull my hand away from her and strain my ears for the sounds that yanked me out from my dream.

Were they real? I ask myself.

"Sylvee!" Came Tinsel's voice once more.

"Professors! Wake up! I need help!" The stranger's cry comes again. "Hurry! Please!"

A pounding on the door takes me by surprise as the one outside begins slamming their fists on the wooden surface.

I stand and try to hurry towards the sound but trip on a level change and crash painfully to my hands and knees. I feel my right hand begin to soak with a warm seeping of blood and know I have opened the carefully wrapped wound.

The sound of my hosts' bedroom door opens as the frantic pounding and shouting continues outside, and two sets of footsteps rush towards the cacophony of noise.

I rise to my feet again and run towards the front door once more but am thwarted a second time. This stall comes in the form of a table as it jabs into my thighs, knocking the wind out of me as I crash clumsily onto its surface. The legs of the table scrape forward a few inches across the floor with the force of my impact.

"Curse this blindness," I exclaim through gritted teeth, frustration storming within me. "Tinsel! I'm in here! Tinsel!" My voice is strangled but audible.

The door finally opens and I hear a gasp of shock escape Burnet's lips. "Goodness! What's happened?" She questions.

"I don't know." The responding voice sounds breathy and strained.

"Bring her over here, towards the couch. Burnet, call my dad." Kukui's voice sounds calm and clear over the chaos in my mind as he gives out instructions. I hear him pour water and ice into a bucket, then throw what I assume is a towel in after them, his feet carrying him swiftly through the house.

There's a rush of paws, and then a furry form rams frightfully into my legs, knocking my already unsteady body back to the ground. Familiar ribbons wrap around my arms and shoulders, and a strangled cry comes from below.

"Vee vee, sylvee vee!" It says anxiously.

Another set of paws rushes to me from behind and skids to a stop, extended claws scratching against the floor. I hear Hop hiss defensively by my legs, still unsure of the cause of the commotion but ready to protect me from any dangers.

"Tinsel, how did you get-" My words fail mid-sentence, realizing who the "she" mentioned earlier might be.

Dragging myself dizzily to my feet, I stumble over to the couch I had just left but feel the feminine hands of Burnet catch me by my arm before I can move any closer.

"Who's there? Who's on the couch?" I ask, almost manic, straining my ears and sniffing at the air, trying without luck to catch even a hint of if my assumptions were correct.

"I don't know," Burnet says carefully.

Her voice was as calm as her husband's. She helps me straighten up but keeps one arm pressed into my stomach and her other hand held firmly to my right arm.

"Stay where you are. We don't need you getting hurt too." She speaks with a gentle but commanding tone.

I feel her hand leave my arm tentatively, but the one around my stomach stays firm. There are several clicks of a phone's keys, followed by a ringing.

Burnet begins to speak into the receiver. Though her mouth is much lower than my right ear, being shorter than me, the noise is just frustratingly close enough to muffle the other sounds in the room as she passes information to a man over the phone.

"Sam, who is this?" Kukui asks.

I hold my breath and strain my left ear, turning my head to the side, trying to catch every word.

"Your neighbor, I think," the voice pants, lower to the ground. They must have sat in a chair. They were still gasping for breath, but Sam still manages to get the words out clearly.

"I heard that your new neighbors, the Ashoka's, had arrived yesterday. I wanted to introduce myself to them, so I stopped by. No one answered when I knocked on the door, but this Sylveon started ramming against the walls and windows." They take a quick gulp of air.

"I peeked in and saw this girl lying in the middle of the floor, not moving. When I tried the door, it was unlocked, so I went in." Their voice grows shaky as they speak, as they remember the frightening event, clearly on the verge of tears. The fear in their mind presses against my own, threatening to engulf my very thoughts.

"She's not responded to anything I do or say, and she feels really hot. I didn't know what else to do, so I just brought her here."

"It's okay, Sam, calm down," Kukui says in a pacifying voice. "You did the right thing."

I try to move forward again, desperate to touch the person lying on the couch, to be sure it really was my dear wife. Burnet's arm continues to hold tightly to my stomach, though, while she was still on the phone with her other hand.

I reach down and rip her slender fingers away. I hear someone get to their feet and feel a larger, much more firm hand press against my chest.

"Hey," Kukui says, "calm down. You're about to fa-"

"Calm down?" I say hysterically, not allowing him to finish his sentence, my voice rising to a high-pitched crackle. "That's my wife on your couch! How can you expect me to calm down? What is going on? Why is she here? Why isn't she responding?"

I push away the hand on my chest, but it returns without hesitation, and then I feel Tinsel jump in front of me too before I can take a step, her ribbons wrapping around my legs, pushing me backward with the man.

"Tinsel, move!" I yell.

I hear Hop hiss protectively from where I want to be, torn between protecting her unconscious owner or me. Then, after hearing the click of a phone hanging up, I feel Burnet's hand slip in front of my stomach once more, helping the other two hold me in place.

"LET ME GO!" I bellow in a mixture of anger and fear, pain searing through my mind at the thought of Sashi being injured, or worse.

I hear Lei begin to cry in another room. I know in the back of my mind that my yelling has caused it, but I had too many other emotions vying for my attention to allow me any concern for the child.

The unmistakable sound of a Pokèball button is pushed and enlarged; then, I hear the noise of a Pokèmon being released.

"Incineroar," Kukui says. "Help us out."

Now, two massive paws grab me around my stomach over my arms and easily lifts my tall, scrawny body off the ground. I flail my arms and legs uselessly, yelling in a mixture of anger and fright.

Why are these seemingly kind people keeping me from my wife?

"You need to relax. We aren't holding you back to upset you." Kukui's firm voice cuts through my chaotic mind. "If you try stepping forward, you could fall and get hurt. There's a level change right under your feet. So calm down, and we will help you to the couch."

My churning mind grasps eagerly to these words. I slowly stop thrashing and allow my body to go limp in the grip of the giant Pokémon, feet dangling off the ground. I hang my head in shame at being carried like an unruly child who's just thrown a tantrum in the supermarket.

There's an angry snarl from my wife's Delcatty as she prepares to pounce at the sight of a large Pokèmon restraining me, having decided that the threat being posed was more dangerous to me at the moment.

"Hop, it's alright," I choke out. "They're helping us." She continues to growl protectively but doesn't move in to attack anyone.

"Bring him around here," Kukui instructs.

Without allowing my feet to touch the floor, I'm carried over like a rag doll to where I hear the Professor's voice.

"You can set him down. I'm going to grab your arm and lead you to the couch now, but the step is right in front of you, so be careful." The firmness in his voice slips away as he guides me past the step and sits me down on the floor in front of the couch.

"She's right here, Kabir." His voice is now gentle and sympathetic. The carefully spoken words worry me about how my wife must look.

His hand leads mine over to the figure's own. I grab it and feel the fingers, swiftly locating my wife's ring. I can tell it's her. She had our rings engraved with Braille.

"Sashi," I choke out.

There's a small gasp from the female Professor at the confirmed knowledge of who the woman on the couch is.

Sashi's small hand is clammy. I bring my other arm to her face and run my fingers through her hair. The towel on her forehead is cold and dripping, but I know her damp hair comes from a fever. I try to speak, but an inhuman gurgle escapes my lips instead.

Clearing my throat, I finally manage, "Is she injured?"

"Nothing that we could see." The man's voice sounds close to my ear; he must be crouching next to me. I feel Kukui's hand grasp onto my shoulder in an attempted comforting manner, but I'm too focused on my wife to take any solace in the gesture.

"The doctor is on his way. He should be here in just a few minutes." Burnet says. Her voice is gentle and soothing, like her husband's.

How are they so calm? I want nothing more than to scream, I think to myself in shame.

"Now, I don't want to get anyone's hopes up needlessly; I'm no human doctor after all," she says with practiced care, "but she might just have a bad cold or flu. The islands usually have a flu sweep through, around this time, every year.

"Yes. That seems like a good deduction," Kukui agrees, trying to sound optimistic but unable to hide the worry in his own voice.

By just that reaction and the rising worry in their minds, I can tell that Sashi must look like she's about to be taken by the Dusknoir.

"You mentioned last night, after dinner, how long your travels here were and how difficult the move was to get ready for, especially the strain it took on your wife. You said yourself how exhausted she's been lately." The young man tries to reason.

I nod my head and whisper, "Okay." But remain unconvinced.

We sit in quiet for a while. Small coos can be heard from the front of the home as Sam watches over Lei. Burnet and Kukui murmur to each other nearby, probably keeping a watchful eye on the two of us. Hop chirps sadly and softly near my ear, having lain across her owner, while I have my head lying on Sashi's cold hand.
I press my mind in my wife's own, hoping to feel some spark of her. Even in sleep, Sashi's thoughts have always been active, fluttering from one place to the next, like Butterfrees in a spring field, but now, all I can feel is pain and overwhelming exhaustion from her. I pull my thoughts away in fear, not wanting to experience it as well.

Yes, she was tired from the move, but nothing anywhere close to warranting this kind of reaction. Why has she fallen so ill so quickly? And why didn't I notice her getting sick? I question myself as I feel her shiver beneath me.

Her breath comes in short, sharp gasps as she tries to pull air into her fever-filled lungs. I can tell by the passing moments at her side that her condition is worsening swiftly.

"Sashi," I call in a whisper, pushing on her shoulder gently. "Sashi, wake up."

She's never been this sick before. The thought flashes through my mind.

Just like anyone else, she's fallen ill to a cold or flu here or there, but she's strong and healthy and has always recovered quickly. She's also never been so sick that she doesn't wake up to small interactions.

My wife has always been a light sleeper, rousing even at small movements from me on the rare occasion when I get up before her. But now, she hasn't shown any signs of stirring.

"Sashi, please, wake up. Just for a moment." A pain in my throat stifles my words. "Why won't she respond?" I question out loud to the two nearby, but they stay silent.

Then a worse thought crosses my mind. "What if she never wakes up?" I now whisper to myself. This thought is too much for me to bear, and I choke out a small sob at just the idea of it.

Kukui sets his arm across my shoulder, now sighing quietly, and I feel Burnet sit next to me on the floor, placing a comforting hand on my knee. We sit like this until new noises announce the arrival of the doctor.

I hear hooves and wheels pounding the road outside, swiftly drawing closer to the home. A pause stretches out between us as footsteps are heard heading towards the house. There's a knock on the door, but no wait for an answer. Instead, the newcomer simply opens it up, the noise of a heavy bag rolling behind him.

"Doctor Ōpūnui, she's over on the couch." I hear Sam say, sounding flustered and full of fear.

There's some shuffling next to me as Kukui and his wife get up and out of the way; then, I feel an old wrinkled hand grab my arm and tug at it gently, but I can't move. My feet won't allow it. I also don't want to leave Sashi's side either, fearing these may be the last few moments I have with my dear wife.

"Young man, you're blocking my way to the patient." A voice says.

He sounds old and tired but not unkind, just prepared to put up with a fight from me. It's a similar tone that I hear my wife's twin sister, Anya, use when she knows she's about to have a verbal conflict with someone, which, for her, happens often.

Ironic as it sounds, the familiar weight of this new man's voice starts to put my mind at ease. Even just knowing a doctor is here to help begins to calm the storm inside my mind, though I still can't pull myself to my feet to move out of his way.

"Incineroar," Kukui's voice sounds behind me.

I feel the two massive paws pull me into the air and lift me over the ledge once more, setting me gently back onto the ground.

"Right, let's see now," the old doctor says. I feel him push past me, then pause slightly as he noisily pulls on his gloves.

A small surprised gasp escapes his lips, followed by a feeling of sudden shock that flashes across my exposed mind. The moment passes faster than an Arcanine using Extreme Speed, though. He grunts as he crouches down next to my wife and begins his examination, acting as though his momentary feeling of shock never occurred.
I hear a small Pokémon near the doctor's head chirp a few times, but I don't recognize it. He gives it a few instructions. Then he rustles some things around in one of his bags.

I feel Burnet's hand lay gently across my arm to lead me away. It sounds like Kukui has picked up a squirming Delcatty from beside the couch. Hop hisses and growls at being moved away, but I hear his footsteps head towards me, undeterred, her protests growing more fierce with his sound of approach, fighting harder the further she is moved from her Trainer.

"Hop," I say, shocked by the calmness in my voice, "he's here to help. We need to give him room to work." The sounds of the cat Pokémon die down slowly as my words take effect, but I also hear my Sylveon chirp soothingly to the lively cat as well.

I'm led outside and helped into a chair. I feel Tinsel wrap her ribbons around my legs and curl up underneath me. Hop places her head on my knees and lets out a long, sad sigh.

We sit in the same hush as before. The birds chirp overhead, and the waves crash on the beach, unconcerned by the situation before them.

How could I have missed the signs of her falling so ill? I question myself again, despondently.

My thoughts return to my wife's sister, Anya, and I ponder on the life and struggles she has been through within just this last year. I begin to imagine what it would be like to live my life without my constant friend by my side, just the thought of it becoming more painful.

My heart sinks with each passing moment as I allow my mind to wander deeper into the endless hole of "What ifs" and dark thoughts, unspeakable catastrophes vying for a chance to show a new, awful outcome. Tears flow freely down my face as the fear engulfs me.

It's a few hours before any new movement can be heard. At some point, I find that I have no more tears and instead sit and listen to the waves crashing on the beach.

The sound of Dr. Ōpūnui's footsteps reaching the front of the house and him opening the door sucks me out of my stupor as I listen for his prognosis. I hear him pulling rubber gloves off his hands and letting out a small, tired sigh.

"How is she?" Burnet's voice says beside me. The sound jolts my thoughts.

When did she sit down next to me? I question myself, trying to recall the last few hours.

When the older man answers, he sounds as if he is working through a complex puzzle in his mind. "She's been badly poisoned. It was pretty touch and go for a bit there," He says honestly with a sigh. "but I believe the young lady should make a full recovery. Has she run into any Poison Type Pokemon recently?"

"I don't know," I answer, frustrated at myself for being here, at my neighbors' home, cozy and warm, while my wife was maybe off fighting some dangerous creature.

"She was found inside her home with the door closed," Burnet says.

"Th-there's a door on the west side as well, in the basement. It leads to the backyard. We-" I pause as shame pulses through me. "We didn't check that the house was clear before we laid down for a nap."

"Burnet and I will scope the place out and make sure there's nothing inside or around it," Kukui says decidedly.

"No, son. Have the police do the scan. Whatever Pokemon that did this was very powerful." The doctor says seriously.

"But wait," I hear Burnet shift next to me. "This Sylveon is unharmed. It came over with Sam when they brought her. If there had been a battle, wouldn't it be injured too?"

"My wife has her own Pokemon as well. She set her bag with their balls next to her before we went to sleep. She's very good about not wandering around without having them with her, especially in a new place. Plus, she's a strong and skilled Trainer and very observant of her surroundings. I can't imagine something would have been able to sneak up on her, even if she were asleep. She would have noticed and put up a fight." I say, my own brain clinging desperately to solving this problem.

"Did you not see anything, sir?" The doctor asks me.

"No. I stayed here overnight. My wife was alone when Sam found her." I say as another wave of shame pulses through me, keeping my head bowed in embarrassment.

"Very well. Do you remember anything else about the house before you left?" The doctor asks me, moving swiftly on. I think for a moment but then shake my head without saying a word, unable to recall anything odd about my surroundings.

"I'll make sure Officer Jenny knows all of this." The young woman says next to me, the sounds of buttons already being dialed on the phone. I hear her rise to her feet and walk off.

"And I'll call Hala when she's done," Kukui says.

"Yes, good." The old man comments, rustling fabric near me. I feel him put a few small rattling objects into my hand.

"Here is some medicine to help her along. The instructions are on the bottles. She'll need to take all of them within the next few days. So be sure she does." The doctor's voice says in a swift, professional tone.

I run a finger along the surface of the label but feel only smooth paper, the words illegible to me.

"When she wakes up, give her some food and water, but limit her activity. With the help of that medicine, she should begin to feel better within a couple of days, but I want her to rest for a few more after that too. If she..." he pauses.

I can't see it, but I can feel his intelligent eyes boring into my sightless ones as if he only just realized my blindness.

"It's okay, dad. These two will be staying with us until she's stronger," Kukui says confidently, sounding near Ōpūnui.

"Wait, what?" I say, surprised by his words.

"Very good." The doctor responds without hesitation as if sensing my resistance. Then he continues;

"If she doesn't start showing signs of improvement, or if she gets worse, call me. Bring her to the hospital as a last resort. She shouldn't be moved around too much in her condition. Otherwise, I will be stopping by a few times for a bit to view her progress."

"Thank you, doctor," I say to the kind elderly man, nodding my head in gratefulness at his swift action.

"What was your name again, sir?" He questions me unexpectedly but politely.

"A-Ashoka, Kabir," I answer back, slightly confused by the sudden curiosity.

"I see, and your wife must be Sashi then, sister to Anya, is that right?" He comments.

"Yes," I say, shocked by his knowledge. "But, how did you know?"

He chuckles slightly, "I've had many, ah," He pauses, clearly choosing his words carefully, "encounters, with Ms. Māhoe in my practice. She's a rather difficult young lady to ignore. Let's hope your wife doesn't share the same fiery temper as her twin." There's a laughing tone in his voice as he mentions my sister-in-law's grumpy demeanor.

I also allow myself a small, awkward laugh, recalling Anya's swift attitude and agreeing that she would be a hard person to work with outside of a familial setting.

"Thankfully, you won't have to worry about that from Sashi," I answer back meekly.

"Oh, good. You know," the doctor says, now conversationally, clearly trying to cheer me up a bit. "Anya has mentioned you two before, but she never told me you were moving to the islands. I had quite a shock seeing her twin on the couch! If it hadn't been for your wife's long hair, I might well have been convinced it was Ms. Māhoe!" He laughs jovially.

I nod my head at him, wanting to seem polite but still too taken aback by the sudden events to have much desire to engage the kind doctor with conversation. The mention of Anya had only brought back dark memories again.

"Well, anyway," he continues, seeing my stress not removed by the switch to a happier note. "I had best get to the hospital. My shift is about to begin.

"And young man," the doctor says to me, placing a soft, wrinkled hand comfortingly on my arm, leaning in close to whisper next to my ear, "Calm your fretting. I am only a phone call away if you need anything, even just to talk. Kukui has my personal number if you ever want it." He says, an understanding tone in his voice now, as if he knows the thoughts boiling in my head and was trying hard to will his words to have the meaning he wanted.

Then he removes his hand, and I hear him straighten his back, his spine cracking wetly a few times in his old age.

His voice returns to the professional business tone once more, and he continues, "If you stress yourself too much, you could end up sick as well, and that would just put more strain on your kind hosts."

I pause and chew on his words for a moment. He's correct; I know he is. I want to say more, but all I can manage is a polite, "Yes, sir."

The sound of his footsteps recede. I hear Ōpūnui descending the stairs, Kukui whispering to his father as he helps the doctor put his large rolling bag back inside. Then the elder man climbs into his carriage.

"And welcome to Alola," He calls to me as the hooves of the two Pokemon pulling a cart clatter away, and Kukui's footsteps quickly return.

"Let's get back inside," Burnet says, having returned to my side after her phone call. "Maybe I can make a quick breakfast. Is there anything you'd like to request?"

"Thank you," I say instead. "We have not even been on Alolan soil for a full day, and you two have already helped us out twice now, probably saving both our lives. I will never be able to repay you for the kindness you have shown."

I know my words will never truly reflect just how grateful I am to these two heroes, but I hope the conviction in my voice shows even just a tiny amount of it.

"Think nothing of it," Kukui says. "I'm very certain you two would have done the same for us." His words are heartfelt.

I stand and face the direction that my hosts' voices have come from. I clasp my hands to my side and bow deeply and respectfully. "I apologize for how I acted. I was too caught up in my worry for Sashi. I apologize for allowing my emotions to rule my actions. My biggest fear is to lose my wife-," my voice cracks slightly, and I take a deep breath before continuing, "-so I wasn't thinking clearly. I know that will never excuse my outburst, but if you can find it in your kind hearts, please forgive me." I bow again.

"We hold no grudge for the way you acted. We understand how you felt." Kukui says sincerely, coming up beside me and placing a hand on my shoulder.

"Yes, there is nothing to forgive," Burnet adds, her hand patting my arm soothingly.

"And where is Sam?" I ask, recalling the kind young voice of the person who had brought my wife here. Their actions probably saved Sashi's life as well, with their swift decision to get her somewhere safe.

"They've already left." The woman answers. "Sam is the mail carrier for Hau'oli City, so they had to leave once they knew your wife was safe when the doctor arrived, but they will be back, probably tomorrow."

"Alright, I'll be sure to talk to them tomorrow, then." I close my eyes and feel relief and gratitude flood through me as a new tear, brought on by emotion, slips out of my sightless eyes. Steeling myself with a long, slow push of breath through my nose, I finally say, "So, how about that breakfast. I can help cook."

My stomach is still writhing with emotions, and I don't think I'd be able to keep any food down, but I know the distraction will be calming. I feel the familiar warmth of Tinsel's ribbon wrap around my wrist. It feels like an eternity has passed since she last led me, though it was only just yesterday.

She and I fall back into our routine easily. She leads me to the door, and I confidently find the handle with Sylveon's ribbon guiding my hand's movement and open it, ready to return the rest of my life to some form of normalcy too.
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